April 10, 2006: The Hotel Life Again

I slept in until 6:30 this morning – the latest that I have slept in yet down here in New Jersey. I am really adapting to this “early to bed, early to rise” thing. Ol’ Ben would be proud of me. I was in to work at 8:30 which is just about average for where I work. The place is pretty emtpy until 8:30 and people are still filing in until around 10:00 or so.

Bagels and coffee for breakfast from the cafeterria. Yummy! Their coffee is really good.

I spoke with the apartment complex in North Brunswick today and we are all set for me to move in this Thursday! We hadn’t been expecting to be able to get in until next week. The Lord is watching over us. The logistics of not being able to get the keys until next week were going to be really terrible. We hadn’t figured out how we were going to deal with that. Now the plan is that I am going to go down there on Thursday afternoon, sign the lease and pick up the keys. I will check the place out and maybe even drop some stuff off so that I don’t have to cart it back and forth to New York anymore. Then I will be heading for home since I have Friday, but not Monday, off from work. I am really looking forward to the long weekend. I need the time to just relax a little. And I am really looking forward to getting to see Dominica and Oreo for five days!

For lunch today, Prashant and I went to a sushi place just down the street from the office. The food was really good and really cheap. It is looking like it is going to be really easy to eat well and healthy around here.

My BlackBerry finally got set up today so I am much more able to work remotely. Now I have to remember to always keep it with me. That will take some getting used to.

I managed to get my Cablevision Optimum Internet access ordered today as well. They were actually going to be able to install it tomorrow but I had them wait until Tuesday because Dominica will be there. They are coming between 8:00 and 11:00 in the morning. So I only have to go for one day without Internet access – in theory. It looks as though Internet access down here might really awesome. Speeds that are completely unheard of in the Rochester or Ithaca areas at the same prices. And down the road I might even be able to get those speeds doubled. Supposedly my new line will be 15Mb/s down and maybe as fast as 2Mb/s up. That is awesome! I am excited to try it out.

I ordered my computer supplies for the apartment today. Now that we know that I am going to be moved in and will have Internet access I figured that it was pretty important to have something to hook to that access. I ordered the same computer that Dominica has, the HP dx5150 with the AMD Athlon 64 3200+, but she has the mini-tower so that she can put a high end graphics card in hers and I want to save space so went for the Small Form Factor. I think that the SFF units are so much more attractive. I also ordered a Samsung 204B black 20.1″ LCD with 800:1 contrast and 1600×1200 resolution. I know that you are all jealous now. I figured that I would have a lot of desktop stuff in one spot so I got a bigger than usual APC Back-UPS ES 500 to power it all. Normally I just use the smaller ES 350 models. I needed a new firewall for North Brunswick as well. Netgear has a new model out that is really interesting. It is an upgrade, really, to the FWG114P that I have used so much over the last few years. That is taking longer to ship so I won’t have that for an additional week. But once it is in I will have wireless access again for my laptop as well. I also got a set of headphones for the office. I often have to listen to things at the office from the computer but I have a cubicle and the computer is under my desk so it has to be pretty loud before I can understand anything that is being said and by that point it is so loud as to be a pretty significant problem in the office area. I tried just using my earbuds but that really doesn’t work. They pull out of my ears every time that I move.

I went home at 5:30 – back to the hotel. I have been in the hotel so much it is really starting to feel like home. Everyone knows me when I walk in the door. I ordered some pizza for my dinner. I didn’t get to eat a lot yesterday and I was pretty hungry after just some light meals today. I watched most of an episode of Will & Grace while I ate my pizza. They always say that it will take forty minutes but it generally comes in twenty. The episode is one of those “I have only ever seen this show a handful of times but each time I see this episode” episodes.

Tonight we had the major breakthrough of having made the first outside to inside phone call of the new phone system. Using the softphone on my laptop and my headphones I was able to place a call to the telephone in the living in Geneseo over a secured VPN channel. The call sounded great and the latency was almost nothing. It sounded way better than a regular telephone call, a mobile call or Vonage’s VoIP system. And we haven’t even started tweaking anything yet. Next we will attempt to place a call without having to have the VPN connected. That should, in theory, make the sound quality even better yet and make it a lot more useful. I am really happy that it actually worked. This is a major relief.

I tried to install the VPN software that I have from work onto my laptop so that I can try to work from home (home meaning the hotel, of course.) But as soon as I installed it I ended up having no Internet access at all (hence the lateness of this daily update.) It took me a while to figure out what was wrong and I went up to the front lobby to see if it was a problem with the hotel’s wireless. I eventually figured out that it was the VPN software so I had to remove that and Tah Dah… it started working again. What a pain.

I ended up spending an hour or two talking to the guy working at the desk of the hotel. He really reminded me of me working at the hotel all of those years ago. He is about the same age that I was when I started. He has only been at the hotel for about six weeks. So I have been living in the hotel for half of the time that he has been there. Unlike poor me he gets to have a laptop with him at work. Working in a hotel these days is a completely different experience than it was when Andy and I worked in the hotels. We didn’t even have the slightest hint of Internet access until right at the end of our time at the Wellesley and then it was just dial-up or maybe a 56K leased line that was only connected to the useless Windows 95 or 98 “management” machine. I wouldn’t mind working a hotel front desk if I could spend my time surfing the web, emailing people, writing the SGL updates, instant messaging, etc.

I went back to my hotel room and had to wrap up some work that I hadn’t been able to complete without my Internet access. I ended up not getting a chance to get to bed until almost midnight. I had meant to go to bed by 10:30 at the latest and more likely a bit before that.

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